Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Linux Business The Almighty Buck

Japan To Do Payroll On Linux 343

Posted by timothy
from the upstart-operating-system dept.
strannik writes "Yahoo/Reuters is reporting that the The Japanese Government will use Linux for it's payroll system. Fujitsu LTD, IBM Japan LTD and OKI Electronic Industry Co. will develop the system by March of 2004. The new system is expected to halve operating costs (to about 350 Billion Yen a year)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Japan To Do Payroll On Linux

Comments Filter:
  • Java? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pieroxy (222434) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:07PM (#6401608) Homepage
    I'm always wondering why doesn't people use Java for such large developments... If tomorrow Linux is declared illegal because of the SCO suit (very unlikely though), you just reinstall FreeBSD and keep on going.

    Multi-platform is an invaluable freedom on such projects where deployment and operating costs are so high
  • by phunhippy (86447) * <zavoid&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:08PM (#6401627) Journal
    350,000,000,000.00 JPY Japan Yen = 2,974,249,477.00 USD United States Dollars

    Can someone explain how they will save nearly 3 billion dollars by using Linux?

    MS licenses can't cost that much!!! (really!)
  • by cheezus (95036) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:09PM (#6401632) Homepage
    Company/Government X is using linux to do Y! woot!

    It would be much nicer if it was news everytime microsoft landed a big contract.
  • $300mil/yr? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:10PM (#6401645)
    Since when does a payroll system require $300 million a year to MAINTIAN?

    Must be like one of those $500 screwdriver type deals the US Govt likes to pull.

  • by TSMABob (685023) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:11PM (#6401662)
    RTA...
    1. The adoption of the Linux open-source operating system, which can be obtained for free and copied or modified

    2. Until now, the Japanese government has relied on expensive large-scale computers for its backbone system. The new system, using lower-priced advanced servers and personal computers, is expected to halve the network's operating costs to around 350 billion yen a year
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:15PM (#6401695)
    It means that other governments are seeing the value of a non US controlled resource that cannot be spiked, can become a cultural resource adapted to the host nation and improves and promotes localism.

    Additionally is cheap...

  • by phunhippy (86447) * <zavoid&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:15PM (#6401699) Journal
    thanks I did...

    The adoption of the Linux open-source operating system, which can be obtained for free and copied or modified, would be a blow to Microsoft Corp, which wanted the government to use its Windows system for the backbone computer.

    Until now, the Japanese government has relied on expensive large-scale computers for its backbone system. The new system, using lower-priced advanced servers and personal computers, is expected to halve the network's operating costs to around 350 billion yen a year

    If they are spending 6 billion now to maintain payroll and personel database they have much larger concerns to worry about.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:16PM (#6401711) Homepage
    ...would be how much would they have saved (relative to their old mainframes, of course) if they had decided on a Microsoft-based solution?
  • by mjmalone (677326) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:17PM (#6401720) Homepage
    It doesn't say in the article that they have been running windows in the past. Just that Microsoft wanted them to use it. Maybe they are already running some *nix variation and already have a knowledgable staff, mass layoffs and new hires would probably cost as much the added expense of nix admins... at least for the short term.
  • Re:Java? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pieroxy (222434) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:18PM (#6401728) Homepage
    The problem with BSD is that it doesn't have enough visibility (or at least less visibility that Linux). Why is linux getting all that good press is the real puzzlement.

    On a large application / heavy loaded server, it makes no doubt that BSD is a lot better than Linux, but on the desktop the problem is not the same

    The huge number of drivers support can partially explain the popularity of Linux on the desktop, and if the MS saga has proven anything, that is desktop leads to server, because it provides a good visibility in everybody's mind.
  • A good market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:19PM (#6401736) Journal
    Well... first before I get flamed to death, I will note that I am writing from MozillaFirebird on X11 with a lot of nice graphics support (GL, etc).

    That being said, however, one of the nice things about 'nix is that you can trim down the graphics or the GUI (as above, not to indicate that linux can't do advanced GUI). With windows, you're looking at the latest OS every now-and-then just to make sure it runs on your hardware... which usually included a bevy of bloated and distasteful GUI crapulence.

    Now, for payroll, we're talking money, calculation, etc... a simple GUI (widget-wise, not necessarily design wise) is all that's needed for the client-side. For the server-side, no GUI needed at all... we're just processing more or less straight numerical data, except for strings on names, account ID's, etc.

    As always, the beauty of linux is choice. For your accounting system, you can eliminate a lot of headache by not using the unnecessary GUI components. In windows, you often don't have as many options in that direction (except disabling "fade effects" and other silliness).

    I fully expect linux to take root and grow within the financial sector more and more as time passes - as long as you don't have MS-only software, there's just no need for an MS Operating System in such an environment.
  • Re:Java? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Surak (18578) * <surak@mai[ ]ocks.com ['lbl' in gap]> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:19PM (#6401738) Homepage Journal
    Ya know, Java is not the only cross-platform development language on the planet.

    First off, believe it or not, ANSI C is pretty darned portable, especially across *nixes. Think how how many Linux code written in C ports easily to *BSD, Solaris, AIX, etc. It's not 100% cross-platform, but it's close enough for projects that need native compiled code.

    Now, for a massive payroll system, which is basically a database, native compiled code isn't strictly necessary. It's a database, and probably needs a client/server architecture. Database lookups are the bottleneck, on the client, so you *could* do a lot of stuff. You could make it web based, for instance, and use Apache, PostgreSQL, and PHP or Perl for instance. If you want a gui, you could do Python/GTK, for instance. All of this stuff is cross-platform, Java isn't the ONLY solution.
  • by KillerHamster (645942) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:21PM (#6401756) Homepage

    Windows admins make a lot less than *nix admins

    But you need fewer admins to maintain the same number of machines when they are running *nix.

  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:22PM (#6401762)
    I think you may want to look carefully at one of the major vendors that is developing this Linux-based computing system: IBM.

    You know, the same IBM that spent over US$1 billion to port Linux over to run on S/390 and AS/400 hardware. In short, the so-called "Linux wins" are mostly due to the fact they're getting IBM big iron computers running Linux.
  • Payroll Systems (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yintercept (517362) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:32PM (#6401844) Homepage Journal
    Payroll systems are generally about databases and applications--not about operating systems. I suspect most US payroll systems are in whatever OS the company uses for other applications. Big companies do their payroll on big equipment. Small companies do their stuff on MS or Linux, or whatever. There is a lot of outsourcing in the industry...out sourced payroll seems to end up on big Sun boxes etc.

    Since payroll was one of the first big applications to be put into computers, I suspect that there is a ton of different legacy systems out there on a variety of machines.

    Regardless, payroll is a data application, so I find it odd that the OS is the primary consideration in a payroll application.
  • by larien (5608) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:33PM (#6401857) Homepage Journal
    Yup, but the choice is between Linux, proprietary *nix (usually AIX or Solaris) and Windows. In some cases, linux is beating both Windows and Unix.

    BTW, the mention of "large systems" suggests mainframes to me, so potentially no-one's lost on this as it was probably IBM mainframes.

  • by markv242 (622209) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:34PM (#6401868)
    Where are these savings coming from? Surely not entirely from switching to Linux.

    I'd be willing to wager that most of the cost savings will be in manpower, usability, etc, of the home-built software itself. Additionally, unless they're deploying Linux on the exact same hardware that their old system was running on, you can't credit Linux with the operating cost savings.

    For example, let's say that they were running the old payroll system on some cluster of Pentium 2 or Pentium 3 machines. Those machines supported X concurrent users. With today's hardware, you can support X concurrent users with half the amount of hardware. Remove half the hardware, and you can potentially remove half your support resources. Congratulations, you've halved your operating costs.

    I think "using Linux" is just a side-note to this story. Systems evolve, and get easier to use, more powerful, and require less support, regardless of which operating system they're using.

  • Re:Java? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zulux (112259) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:37PM (#6401896) Homepage Journal
    I'm a big *BSD fanboy so....

    Linux is getting to the point that it's catching up with FreeBSD for servers. It still has a way to go to match OpenBSD for security, or NetBSD for portability.

    There are strenghs to Linux, such that now it should be part of your tool kit:

    OpenBSD for firewalls, gateways and remote boxes that you don't wat to patch.
    FreeBSD for fileservers, database servers, xwindows servers.
    NetBSD for odd platforms.
    Linux for desktops, WINE, clusters and *supported applications*.

    Let me explain the last one:
    Many vendors are starting to explicitly support Linux as an alternate platform to Windows - so if you want their support, it's easier just to install their recommended version of Linux has fire away.

  • by larien (5608) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:39PM (#6401910) Homepage Journal
    Er, "The new system, using lower-priced advanced servers and personal computers". That doesn't suggest S/390 or AS/400 to me.
  • Re:Java? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surak (18578) * <surak@mai[ ]ocks.com ['lbl' in gap]> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:40PM (#6401924) Homepage Journal
    Yes, C is portable. Java is cross-platform. Difference, and not a subtle one either.

    But as far cross platfor:

    PHP, Python, Perl, heck they could just about write it in XUL! These are ALL cross-platform. From Macs, to Windows to *BSD to Linux.

    I'm sorry, I'm just sick of the Java guys always saying "Why don't they just write it in Java!" as if Java were the only cross-platform language anyone would ever consider using.

    You have to look at the requirements of the project before you can even begin to say that you could code it in Java, or C, or any language. Requirements drive the design. They drive the language choice. They drive the platform(s) used. They drive everything. You don't pick Java just 'cause it's "cool."

  • by Quino (613400) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:47PM (#6401991)
    I read this to mean that it'd be nice if MS got contracts so infrequently, it'd be newsworthy.

    All I can say now, is give it time! MS can only continue saying stuff like "don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain" for so long, and it looks like the time of effective MS FUD is coming to an end (remember when the discussions were about whether or not X was _actually_ going to install Linux, or whether they were using it as a tactic to get better pricing from MS?). At least some governments and companies are finally realizing that they're probably always just better off with OSS (at least, for pretty much anything they might give money to MS for).

    PS

    And it's news to me because it's Linux, and I'm constantly curious about rate of deployment / penetration (making sure it's still making progress, you could say!)
  • Re:Java? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kisrael (134664) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @02:05PM (#6402128) Homepage
    The problem with BSD is that it doesn't have enough visibility (or at least less visibility that Linux). Why is linux getting all that good press is the real puzzlement.

    Linux has a better name than BSD. It's a word, not initials. It looks a bit friendlier, in a magazine article it doesn't look so technical. And in the early days at least, Linux seemed to have better momentum, more and more interesting stuff happening there. So it's become the poster child for free OS and cheap-to-run *nix systems.
  • Re:$300mil/yr? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by delphi125 (544730) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @02:12PM (#6402197)
    Using 'simple math' $500K per 10Kemps is $50 per employee, scale to 800Kemps the cost would be $40M - nowhere near the 3B$ saving mentioned. The new contract is worth $1.6M (design and - presumably - development) - a drop in the ocean compared to either figure.

    What is more worrying is the previous cost per employee: some $7500 per year. If that figure is correct, the first $4 per hour tax of each government employee's tax goes to pay-roll service, effectively - and it will now halve... still $2 per hour.

    I somehow think they have the wrong figure somewhere along the line though.
  • by Sloppy (14984) * on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @02:13PM (#6402210) Homepage Journal
    You know, the same IBM that spent over US$1 billion to port Linux over to run on S/390 and AS/400 hardware.
    Got a source for that? As you might guess, such a number is very difficult to believe.
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @02:18PM (#6402240)
    I'm sure Microsoft wanted them to use their software, but Linux is more likely to win when the competition is another *nix. Microsoft probably couldn't meet the requirements of 'runs old payroll software' or something, no matter how low they could price their software to compete.

    It is unlikely the GNU/Linux is going to be running their old software either (hence they are "developing a new system" for deployment by Q2 2004), although they may be able to reuse some code. However, coming from a mainframe environment to a Linux environment doesn't really imply that they will be able to reuse much more code than they would have had they chosen Windows instead.

    However, given Microsoft's incessant moving targets, incompatible windows releases, forced upgrade paths, forced obsolescence, licensing limitations and costs, and labor intensive administrative and maintenance requirements, stealth DRM and backdoor technologies, and woeful security record, it is unsurprising that governments are chosing Linux over Windows.

    Microsoft themselves have said they are focusing the bulk of their efforts on combating the adoption of Linux in government ($CO is but a sideshow of this effort ... the real movers and shakers are flying to Munich, or having the president of Peru come crawling to them in Redmond, and paying bribes...excuse me, campaign contributions... to keep Linux deployment at bay).

    It is quite telling that despite all of these efforts on the part of Redmond the stream of countries dumping Windows as well as older mainframe and *NIX platforms in favor of Linux and other free software efforts (FreeBSD, etc.) is quickly becoming a torrent and shows every sign of escaliting into a flood.

    Don't kid yourself. Wins like this are big for Linux adoption, and they are a huge blow to the monopolists of Redmond.
  • A bit naive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moderation abuser (184013) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @02:41PM (#6402410)
    The biggest cost savings come from systems architecture reorganisation. If you can architect your systems so that they require only log(N) support rather than N support people per box then you can make some very large savings.

    You don't necesssarily cut your costs in half by reducing the number of systems or even staff by half.

    It's very easy to architect Linux systems to require just log(N) support people, it's far far more difficult to architect Windows the same way.

    So you've got to get the architecture right and yes, the OS can make that easy or it can make it difficult or even impossible.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson

Working...